By Jane Hoskyn
Lust isn’t an art, it’s pure science. When you fancy a bloke, your rational mind is turned upside down by a crazy mix of hormones, subconscious psychology, chemistry and down n’ dirty biology. If he fancies you back, the result can be more explosive than anything you saw in the school science lab.
The good news is that you don’t need a biology degree, or even a bunsen burner, to master the appliance of man-pulling science. All you need is our cheat sheet. Let the lesson begin.
1. Win the dating survival of the fittest
Science says: Back in the evolutionary mists of time, males and females who proved themselves in battle had their pick of the strongest mates. Our evolutionary instincts haven’t changed much since then, even though most of us don’t spend much time on the battlefield, so 21st century mating is still about the survival of the fittest and healthiest.
How to work it: Keep yourself in shape. And by “in shape” we mean healthy – skinny minnies may get the modelling jobs, but men are biologically primed to prefer women with well-toned flesh on her bones.
2. Unleash your pheromones
Science says: We all give off natural scents called pheronomes. They’re too subtle to be noticeable, but we subconsciously recognise the pheromones of our best genetic matches. Love at first sniff.
How to work it: You can’t change your pheromones, but you can ensure that they’re picked up by potential lovers. Avoid smothering your natural pheromones with perfume, stinky food or BO.
3. Look lippy
Science says: Men are attracted to youthful looking faces – and the best way to fake youth is with a pair of fat lips. Dutch scientists who analysed 374 female faces found that big-lipped women appeared younger, despite wrinkles and greying hair.
How to work it: Forget about surgery – that makes your lips look “done”, not plump. The secret is lashings of lip balm, and lipstick with reddish shades.
4. Face facts
Science says: There’s a “golden ratio” that makes for a beautiful face. “The space between pupils must be 46 per cent of the width of the face from ear to ear and the distance between eyes and mouth should be 46 per cent of the length of the face from hairline to chin,” it says here. Um, yes.
How to work it: Get a haircut. Don’t take it from us, take it from the study’s author, Professor Kang Lee: “Our study explains why sometimes an attractive person looks unattractive or vice versa after a haircut, because hairdos change the ratios.” So take a calculator to the salon. Which reminds us…
5. Don’t have a “best side”
Science says: We naturally fancy symmetrical people, because symmetry supposedly indicates health. A New Mexico University study found that women with symmetrical faces got more sex than their wonky-nosed friends.
How to work it: Take a spirit level to the salon along with that calculator, and avoid experimenting with 80s asymmetrical hairdos.
6. Know your cycle
Science says: University of New Mexico psychologist Geoffrey Miller found that men tend to be more attracted to women who are ovulating, because they’ve subconsciously sussed that the women are fertile. This may come as a surprise to those of you whose boyfriends don’t even notice when you’ve had five inches cut off your hair.
How to work it: Get an ovulation thermometer. When you’re hot, hit the town and work those ovaries.
7. Nip your waist
Science says: A particular wist-to-hip ratio is another indicator of fertility. Men are helplessly attracted to little waists that are 0.7 the size of their hips. You want evidence? OK: Miss America winners have varied in their weights and heights, but their average waist-hip ratio remains stuck at 0.7.
How to work it: See it as an excuse to go nuts in Top Shop. This year’s dress shape is a pared-down prom look: nipped-in waists and flouncy hips. Alternatively, buy some Spanx.
8. Ignore the beer gogglers
Science says: Beer goggles make men less likely to fancy you, not more. University of Leicester scientists asked 240 men in pubs to rate photos of women for attrativeness, and to guess their ages. The best ratings came from the sober men.
What to do: Spike his beer with tap water.
9. Mirror mirror
Science says: Human beings are born egomaniacs. Our body language naturally mirrors that of the person we fancy, and happy couples even tend to look alike. The similarities even continue under your skin: compatible couples often have similar lung capacities, middle finger lengths and ear lobes.
How to work it: Make a man feel instinctively feel connected to you by subtly mirroring his moves. We won’t suggest aping his dress style to help you look alike, because that’s what stalkers do.
10. Bewitch him with your eyes
Science says: Eye contact is worth a zillion chat-ups. Psychologist Arthur Arun asked one pair of strangers to chat intimately for an hour and a half, and another pair of strangers to stare silently into each other’s eyes for four minutes. Each time he did this test, the starey couple reported feeling much more connected than the intimate-chat couple. One starey couple even got married. So much for the power of conversation.
Other scientists have found that eye contact causes our bodies to release a chemical called phenylethylamine (PEA) – which is also secreted when we fall in love.
How to work it: Hold his eye for a second or two longer than you’d naturally find comfortable. Watch him tingle.
11. Avoid dad-dancers
Science says: Middle-aged men who make exhibitions of themselves at wedding receptions are just doing women a favour. According to a recent report, their total lack of co-ordination and rhythm is a sign that their sperm is past its use-by date.
How to work it: Take dance classes. Get off with the teacher.